LMC links to national representation: The BMA & General Practitioners Committee

The General Practitioners Committee (GPC) is a committee of the BMA with authority to deal with all matters affecting NHS general practitioners. It is the only body which represents all GPs in Great Britain, whether or not they are members of the BMA. The committee also has responsibility within the BMA for all matters affecting prison doctors as they are doctors performing primary medical services.

The committee is recognised as the sole negotiating body for general practice by the Department of Health and is represented in negotiations with ministers and civil servants by a team of eight GPs elected by the committee.

These doctors draw upon their day to day experience of general practice and are supported in negotiations by expert advisers from the permanent staff of the BMA. The team is supplemented by other GPC members as appropriate, together with legal, accountancy and other specialist advice as and when necessary.

The committee has 86 members, 43 of whom are directly elected representatives of local medical committees (LMCs). It meets monthly and much of its work is undertaken by subcommittees and task groups.

The committee is represented on a wide range of national bodies concerned with health, providing an essential medical input which is firmly rooted in the day to day experience of general practice. In addition, other organisations are represented on the GPC itself, this includes voting nominees of the medical women’s federation, the Medical Practitioners Union, the British International Doctors Association, and non voting nominees of other BMA craft committees, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Dental Association.

Procedures for policy making operate on an annual cycle. The committee sends all GPs an annual report of its work in March.

Individual GPs can influence policy through their local medical committee (LMC), which considers the annual report and submits motions to the annual conference of LMC representatives in June. This conference, comprising more than 300 GPs is the principal policy making body. Its resolutions are referred to the GPC to consider and implement and in this way the committee represents the interests of GPs as expressed through conference decisions.

Further information about the GPC can be found at https://bma.org.uk/about-the-bma/how-we-work/negotiating-committees/general-practitioners-committee

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